NYK Group has announced a joint research agreement with Class NK, Japan Engine Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery & Equipment to develop a new condition-based maintenance (CBM) process for vessel equipment, which will see data from NYK’s shipboard sensors shared with the classification society and the engine manufacturers in real time.
NYK says that it has already started testing and verification of the system during actual ship operations, and that it aims to use the lessons learned to develop an advanced CBM system to support the further development of manned autonomous vessels.
The new joint project aims to improve on the more commonly applied time-based maintenance (TBM) schedule that requires a vessel to halt operations for a few weeks of inspections every two or three years, even if no fatigue or breakdown of the engine is observed.
New sensors and supporting equipment will be installed in two different types of main engine and main steam turbine in accordance with the project, to collect detailed operational data such as vibration and bearing temperatures. The condition of the engine will then be shared and constantly monitored by the classification society and engine manufacturers.
The project will also aim to make failure predictions and determine the remaining useful life (RUL) for the engine, by taking advantage of the manufacturer’s specific expertise to create optimal CBM guidelines and verify them on actual ships.
These results will be shared with the classification society to establish a new classification survey scheme based on CBM, NYK says.
In the future it is hoped that even more advanced CBM methods enabling continuous monitoring through the application of AI (artificial intelligence) can be realised, combining condition data with information such as operational schedules to further optimise the running of the equipment.